CAREER OF MOHAMED AT MECCA 3 ran to Marib, the capital of the Sabaean kingdom, and thence by way of Mecca and Petra to Gaza. A glance at the map will show how Mecca, which lay about half-way between the Hadramaut and Petra, must have benefited by this land commerce, and explain why it became a centre of population and a resort of merchants. The importance of this trade is shown in the book of Ezekiel, in which the prophet refers as follows to the riches of Tyre :1 cc Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants. The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold. Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants.'' This quotation from a Jewish prophet, who is known to haye been sent into captivity by the orders of Nebu- chadnezzar in 599 B.C., sufficiently attests the ancient im- portance of this trade, and it is of special interest to find that Aden, the Eden of Ezekiel, was known by the same name more than two thousand years before it was annexed by Great Britain, It was probably in the first century of the Christian era that the Indian trade began to pass by water through the Bab-ul-Mandeb and up the Red Sea, with the result that the caravan routes were gradually deserted and the erstwhile titriving cities dwindled and waned. The Ancient Religion of the Arabs.ŚMuir, our great authority,2 believes that the religious rites practised at Mecca can be traced to the Yemen, of which district its earliest inhabitants were probably natives. They brought with them the system of Sabeanism, which implied belief in one God coupled with worship of the heavenly bodies. To-day the survivors of the sect, many of whom live in the neighbourhood of Basra and Mohamera, are mis- named " Christians of St. John the Baptist" by travellers, although they speak qf themselves as Mandeans. They 1 Chap, xxvii, a 1-23. a T have not gone into the sources of the biography of Mohamed, but would refer the student to chap. i. of Muir's work.